Singapore is designed as a pedestrian-friendly nation. While I saw many people on foot, I wondered how many travellers actually explore the island through its walking trails. Here are some of my favourite trails.
MacRitchie Reservoir for adventure trails
Even before I walked in this park I was in love with it. Thanks to my extensive research!
Known for its adventurous TreeTop Walk, I like the open trails by the water which eventually lead to the thick forest. Treetop Walk is on a 250-metre free-standing suspension bridge. It is an interesting experience though the 11-kilometre nature trail covered with rainforest was personally more rewarding.
Even though I did not see any wildlife in my evening walk, this reservoir inhabits monitor lizards, long-tailed macaque, squirrels and a few birds like lemurs and owls.
MacRitchie is the first reservoir on the island and occupies 12 hectares in area. It is full of fitness enthusiasts, nature lovers and families out for a leisure walk. Kayaking and fishing are allowed at designated places.
Expected duration of complete walk: Three-four hours for a round trip including the TreeTop Walk.
Chinatown for culture trails
Perhaps Singapore’s favourite neighbourhood, Chinatown is a must visit for all. It is bustling every minute of the day. Locals going to work. Vendors setting up shops. The main attraction of this locale is the way it has maintained its heritage across generations.
The Chinatown Heritage Centre is an ideal place to start the walk. It shares a good insight of Singapore pre-independence and walk on towards the Roman-styled Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church after crossing Sri Mariamman Temple (the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore), Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, Ann Siang Hill (an elevated region for a panoramic view of Chinatown), Thian Hock Keng Temple (Chinese temple with distinct Chinese architecture) and Al Abrar Mosque (one of the oldest minaret mosques of Singapore); in that order. After the confluence of cultures, the traditional Maxwell Food Centre was a perfect conclusion to the walk.
Expected duration of complete walk: 25-45 minutes
Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay for riverside trails
Singapore River flowing through the island creates some exquisite pockets along its course. An evening walk starting from Robertson Quay-the largest wharf in Singapore-through some fine dining and al fresco restaurants in the quiet neighbourhood, towards the very busy and cheerful Clarke Quay. While moving from the former, the shophouses and the perhaps some remnants of the warehouses from history form special photographic moments. The silent reflections along the river changes as Clarke Quay approaches with its noisy vibes. I stopped several times at the night market (on certain days of the week), retails shops and the brightly-lit bars. There is constant distraction on this path!
Expected duration of complete walk: 25 minutes and onwards.
Bukit Batok Nature Park for green trails
The 36-hectare park, Bukit Batok Nature Park, is one of the youngest and the most underrated forests on the outskirts of Singapore. Blessed with abundant flora and fauna, this forest’s interesting species are shrubs, ornamental trees and flowers including tropical Heliconia. The main highlight of this park is the number of view points and quarry pools. The other feature which attracts a number of visitors is the World War II Memorial Site which was resurrected for the Japanese soldiers who died at the war. Expect to see a variety of feathered creatures and geckos in the park. The changeable lizard and the green crested lizard are the most spotted variety.
Expected duration of complete walk: 30 minutes
Which are your favourite trails in Singapore?